Thursday, May 9, 2013

Sharing stories

I love stories.  I love to tell stories, love to hear stories and love to remember stories.  My dad used to have us stand on the bricks of the fireplace and tell an account of our day.  He made a rule that if we made any pregnant pauses or said “umm”, we had to start over from the very beginning.  I always started the same way, “I woke up at X:XXam, and umm…”  Buzz!  “I woke up at X:XXam, got out of bed, went to the bathroom, went back to change my clothes, and umm…”  Buzz!  I remember making such an effort to get at least one step further every time before I had to restart. I normally began laughing or was distracted by comments being made from the peanut gallery that I’m really not all that sure I ever finished recounting a day.  I also feel like we did this exercise a lot but maybe it was only a few times.  I just remember it really clearly because it was such a great challenge.  One summer we all had to earn $100 in spending money to take on a trip to Hawaii.  My sister did so and then spent very little of that $100 while we were on vacation.  My dad had her stand on the bricks to tell us why she didn’t spend her money when my brother and I had.  While I don’t remember a word she said, I remember laughing hysterically watching her up there. 

In my active alcoholism and addictions my daily goal was to just get ‘there’, meaning anywhere but where I was.  The strange thing about it though, was that once I was ‘there’, the goal remained the same… get me anywhere but here.  So the cycle went.  This cycle was the beginning of the end of my drinking and using.  My drinking, eating and insert behavior here just stopped working.  No amount of anything could keep me out of me, and I just wanted me to disappear.  Obviously, quite a contrast to the type of escape I get from hearing stories, but I just can’t imagine a better high than laughing so hard my sides split, my eyes water and I lose my breath so badly that I start coughing before I can regain control. 

So, the reason I bring this up is that last week my sister, brother-in-law, mom, dad, husband and I were all in my parents’ kitchen last week, when the retelling of my many ‘wake up fits’ began.  My sister has the imitation of me down so well that it brings the whole event to life all over again.  This time she was focused in on an evening that I woke up at around 7 and frantically ran into the kitchen.  I was getting out cereal and milk and slamming my bowl down on the sink when my mom or dad asked me what I was doing.  Completed exasperated, I screamed back “WHAT DO YOU MEAN WHAT AM I DOING I’M TRYING TO EAT BREAKFAST AND I’M TOTALLY GOING TO FAIL MY TEST TODAY CAUSE I DIDN’T STUDY CAUSE I FELL ASLEEP I’M GOING TO FAIL!  WHAT DO YOU MEAN WHAT AM I DOING??!!!”  Family member, “Fran…”.  “YOU DON’T UNDERSTAND I’M GOING TO FAIL!!” “Fran, it’s 7 o’clock at night, not in the morning”.  “WHAT WHAT?!”  I was still waking up so it didn’t sink in instantly, but several more moments and it clicked that my dad was home and they were eating dinner.  As my sister reenacted the scene, we all broke into fits of laughter.  What a great feeling.  On the way home, I just kept getting the giggles seeing images of her playing the whole thing through and then experience the laughter all over again as my husband was playing her imitation over with me later. 

Stories give me perspective. They allow me to laugh at myself and at things once heavy and consuming.  They remind me of the value that every moment can hold.  They show me another side of my friends and family.  They reveal my own growth and the strength and love of others.   They take me to another place and my emotions and thoughts shift completely. Tell your story.  Listen to the stories of others.  Take it from me, it’s tough to find a better experience. 

Friday, April 26, 2013

A MIRACLE IN DISGUISE - well not really but seems I was fooled!

Been gone a while… and now I’m pregnant.  My last post was dated December 21st 2012.  I found out I was pregnant on December 26th.  Now I’m 22 weeks pregnant, and my oh my has it been a journey thus far!  I don’t like being pregnant.  I don’t understand women that say they enjoy it.  All that seemed to happen in the first five months was that I became even more incredibly sensitive than is normal for me (scary, seriously), felt sick all the time, got major gas I couldn’t control, my joints began to hurt terribly and feel somehow bruised inside, and my body image tanked.  Saying I ‘felt  fat’ was a gross understatement.  There have been some recent upturns.  A couple weeks ago I found out we’re having a girl.  My husband’s reaction to this has been classic.  I’ve thought many times about suggesting he enact a self ban from the internet and all things teenage girl horror story related.  It’s awesome and hilarious to watch his stages of panic to acceptance and back again, and I’m enjoying not being the only one a little sensitive these days.  So that was highlight #1.  Highlight #2 was the baby beginning to kick.  It’s really cool!  For a while I was having daymares and nightmares that she wasn’t alive or that I lost the baby, but since the kicking began my nightmares have turned a different tune.  Yes, I still get very strange nightmares all having to do with my own personal preservation but no more about losing the baby.  I’m grateful for that!   So that ends my highlight section.  Hahaha, like I said I’m not yet a woman who would claim to enjoy pregnancy.  I do ponder at the miracle of it all.  I have surreal moments where I just can’t believe my life shows the picture it does.  More importantly that I am experiencing life the way I am today.  It’s just baffling!   A miracle indeed!  Around my recovery community, I watch people get sober, experience a revival of virtues, become participants in life again and discover and rediscover relationships.  I am a part of this community and what I observe in others has happened to me.  A little over four years ago I had a really small God reserved only for begging to in the most desperate moments or thanking in the best of the best times, a feeling of utter isolation and hopelessness, zero confidence in my talents or ability to be successful, and my gut had such a gaping hole in it that I worried I may just be swallowed up into an abyss of despair.  Presently, I have I great big God walking me through every moment, a husband by my side, a loving and supportive family, a community of support, hobbies to pursue, passions to live out and a baby in my belly.  What???????????!!!!!!!!!!  Okay, okay maybe being a pregnant, sober, loved, blessed mommy isn’t so bad. 
Man, now I read that back to myself and realize I better get off my pity pot in a hurry!  I mean seriously Fran, talk about luxury problems.  Now here’s to all the pregnant mom’s that walk with grace instead of a waddle and a moan, who recognize the miracle they are carrying and share that blessing with the rest of the world.  My hat is off to you!  Here’s also to the pregnant mom’s who bitch and complain and take out their ever charging hormonal swings on their loved ones.  We also carry a miracle and I know deep down in all of us, we know this and will celebrate… one day.  I’m with you.  Just for today though, maybe we can try one thing differently and say thank you to all the folks that have to hear all the negative crap about the most positive gift we’re carrying.  Thank you husband, mom, dad, sister, brother, family, friend, co-worker, doctor.  Thank you.  :)

  In Gratitude.